I love my friend. Playfully poking fun at myself and my situation, I shuffled towards her to give her a hug with my shoulders slumped and head bowed in an exaggerated expression of self-pity. We empathetically laughed together, each happy to be with someone who understands….understands the need to laugh in the middle of pain, understands the need for hugs and unconditional love, understands the importance of walking with someone through their struggles instead of trying to make their discomfort go away by skirting the core issues.
I so looked forward to getting together with her. We share similar stories of rape, only under different circumstances, and we both are experiencing God’s healing process. God has gifted us to each other, and we desire to seek only Him and desire only to have Him work in our lives. I can be honest with her and she with me. We know we can’t fix each other, but we both know the God who can.
As always, we shared what had been happening in our lives since last getting together. (I thank God for her listening ear and her acceptance.) Then we bowed our heads and praised our God. I need to clarify…she praised our God, and I listened. Sometimes, when my heart is heavy and praise is difficult, it is good to let someone else’s words carry my spirit to the Throne of Grace.
My friend then lifted me to the Lord, and we opened our hearts to the Great Physician for whatever He had for us that day. As she prayed, she told me the word “purify” was repeating itself over and over again in her mind. (We verbalize what God reveals as we pray, and He also often speaks to both of us in pictures. That is how we know what each other sees and hears, and that also will explain the exchanges that follow.) I explained to her that I saw an open wound which had been inflicted on my body by the board (see my previous post The board revealed), and she claimed that only God could heal that injury. At the same time she also asked God to dissolve the board so it would no longer torture me, and in my mind’s eye I saw it dissipate. God then sutured the wound, and it too disappeared. After years of being pressed into a hunched, slightly v-shaped posture I saw my body straightening and gaining health.
Following that, God showed her the next thing He was doing; He was clothing me with a white robe and placing a white mesh shawl on my head, symbols of purification. As she shared, I was experiencing God’s work within; a whirlwind (God’s Spirit) was inside, cleansing the sickness, the bad and the evil from me. It spun up my body…purifying me. (Ironically, my name means “pure one”, although I have never felt pure in my life.) Realization dawned. When my father abused me, he covered me and filled me with all his negative attributes, his hatred, anger, impurity, and foulness…smothering me with who he was and prohibiting my own personal growth. God was cleaning out the evil and replacing it with His goodness, so I could reflect His beauty instead of the warped person that was my father.
The final picture God gave my friend was that of a lush green tree, standing in front of me approximately 20 feet away, covered with healthy red fruit. Its fruit was being blown towards me, and I was absorbing it into my chest; I was receiving it with arms opened wide and a joyous smile on my face. Behind the tree stood Jesus, also smiling with joy as His power caused all this goodness to flow. Together my friend and I voiced the words “fruit of the Spirit”, and she laughed at this simultaneous gift of understanding. God was filling my heart.
Let it be known, though, that in the physical realm there was not a smile on my face. I was weeping, telling God that I had never wanted this, the circumstances of my life, the pain and suffering. Telling God how I was jealous of those whose young lives had been nurtured by loving parents, whose lives had not been racked with pain. I asked for forgiveness for not wanting what I was given; then my friend said “but, now you do”. My spirit rebelled against those words, for I still did not want it. What could she possibly have meant? Then she said, “Receive it in faith.” And, I told God I would by faith receive His gift from this tree, even though I didn’t understand.
Again, I would like to say that everything immediately was hunky-dory and wonderful, but it was not. Yes, God was at work in me, but in some ways I was afraid to both accept the work and accept that it was actually happening. Years of suffering and dashed hopes does that to you. The Scriptures say, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) (Having just read that, I now see that the tree we saw together was the tree of life, and its fruit was fulfilling the longing of my heart. Thank you, Jesus.) Could this burden that I have been carrying since toddlerhood actually be lifted? Hoping against hope, and refusing to pretend that life was now absolutely grand, I honestly accepted my doubts and fears (as God would have me do…He knows they are there anyway) but still accepted the work God was doing in me. And such is spiritual life on this earth. Trusting in the unseen instead of the seen, hoping for what has not yet come (Hebrews 11:1)….the tug- of-war between our physical experience and that which God has revealed to us in His Word. (Galatians 2:20)